Thursday, May 21, 2015

Surprises, Superheroes, and Sweet Sixteen

There was only one other time I cried during my birthday. A few days before fourteenth birthday, two years ago, I was attending youth group. When we finished our discussions and went to get some desert. I saw the small mountain of blueberry muffins with the candle on top. I saw the birthday card with my name on it right next to the muffins. Our youth leader asked who's birthday was coming up in a few days. I had already started crying when I saw the candle on the muffins, and I was giving lots of happy tears when I raised my hand in response to our youth leader's question.
I don't recall when anyone has ever thrown me a full on birthday party, surprise or otherwise (except for those muffins on my fourteenth). When I say birthday party, I mean a happy fun gathering with both friends and family, eating dinner together, doing an activity together. Since both my parents are introverts, they aren't really in the party throwing business. Our family usually has a default birthday schedule, in which our family goes out to eat at a big restaurant of the birthday-person's choice, and then watches a movie (either at the theater or at home with a new movie we bought because of the special day). There might be a mild 'party' but nothing too extravagant. I admittedly complained a little about this when I was younger, because I always organized big parties, both for myself and for my siblings, none of which ever, ever fell through. I was happy about our family celebrations, but I was disappointed that my big party plans weren't used. I came to terms with the fact that my parents just weren't really par-tay throwing type people soon enough, and I was just happy with whatever we had.
So I was not, in any way, expecting what happened to me for my sixteenth birthday yesterday.
Our family is moving soon, so things have been pretty lax in terms of home-school and stuff. We still need to clean and pack stuff up, as well as continue to keep up with stuff like dance classes and drama classes. Other than that, though, things are pretty lax (for us kids at least).
May 20th was more or less like any other day, except, of course, for the continuous smiles and teasing age questions and observations from the family. The day started a little hazily for me, and I remember mom waking up myself and my sisters, and Abi (our dog) excitedly sniffing me and trying to make me get up. Once my eyes were open, which felt like a serious feat (I felt as though my eyes were swollen), mom said something like, "Today is a special day."
My mind was moving ├╝ber slow, and I was hardly remembering exactly why  today was a special day.

Mom: "Nadi, you look different."
Me: [words slurring] "Um, is it because I have some serious shadows under my eyes?"

By then I had figured it out, and my mind was starting to feel way better. Neena (what we call our grandmother) had made us donut holes for breakfast, exclusively for my birthday, and after our family daily devotions (we're reading through the book of Esther at the moment), it was time for me to open presents.
Myrddin and Judah (Hawk and Lion) had collab-ed, and gave me an awesome Thor hammer keychain. It even has the engraving 'Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall posses the power of Thor,' on it. And guess what, bros… I'm worthy.
Raewyn (Dove) gave me an adorable little blue teddy bear. I'm calling him Leo. I think it's short for Leokritos. His left eye is a little broken, so he's gonna get an eye patch soon. I'll ask Raewyn to help me.
My grandmother gave me two AWESOME t-shirts. One with the Avengers on it (specifically, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk), and one with the TMNT on it (specifically, the 2k14 guys). It was kind of weird when I unwrapped it because as soon as I saw what was on the T-shirts, I started to say 'oh, oh, oh, oh, oh…!' over and over again as my nerd girl side could hardly accept the awesomeness of what had just been given to me. Thanks, Neena!
Mom and Abba both gave me a sweeeeeeeeet denim vest, which remarkably fits me! It's fantastic! My mom was really happy that she had found me a vest that actually fit me.
The rest of the day went on relatively normal. The plan was for us to go to a place called Johnny Rockets, which is an American 50s diner themed restaurant, for dinner. We had never actually been to the place before, but we had seen it while at the mall. Apparently one of the big things at that place is the employees occasionally delivering a dance number to some loud 50s or 80s song. Why 80s music, I'm not sure. Anyway, mom was really intent on me going to an American restaurant. I was perfectly fine with that.
So, again, the rest of the day (leading up to dinner) went on relatively normal. I had to do some vacuuming, and packed more of my stuff away in preperation for moving next week. My grandmother brought me to Subway for lunch, and also to Starbucks for a drink. Most of the day, for me, was spent sitting at home, writing random story ideas, reading birthday greetings on Facebook, and just relaxing. Finally, we were off to dinner.
It was pretty loud at Johnny Rockets, and very American looking (except for the Asian patrons and employees). I liked the music and the food looked awesome. It took a long time to order, though, since it took awhile for my siblings to decide what they wanted, and even longer for my mother to decide. Finally, after me asking a few times if we were ready to order and saying I was hungry, we did order.
The food was excellent, and I got to get a vanilla shake. The best vanilla shake I have ever had, I think. It tasted exactly like how I would've expected a diner shake to taste (I'm not sure what my expectations were for that one, actually). We talked, mainly my siblings and I talking about DC and Marvel stuff, with a bit of Transformers and TMNT thrown in.
Myrddin (Hawk) observed that another table of people seemed to also be celebrating a birthday, and that the employees were preparing to throw their birthday ceremony for them. Mom suggested that she tell the employees that it was my birthday, and maybe they would do their dance number for me. Up until then, I just assumed that Mom or Abba had already told them, and when it seemed like they hadn't, I automatically said that Mom didn't have to tell the employees anything. I mean, does anyone else feel awkward when the restaurant employees start announcing to the world that it's your birthday?
Then they employees started shouting an announcement for a birthday, and then they shouted MY name. It looked like the entire staff was coming over with party hats, singing a hip version of Happy Birthday. They even had HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NADI written on a plate in ketchup. I remember yelling 'MOM!' with a mixture of amusment and exasperation, and my mother exclaiming 'What?' in response. Then, I saw the enormous sparkler not far off, sticking out of a cake.
It was an odd experience. I remember feeling happily awkward as the employees sang Happy Birthday, and the music bass rattled through my chest. I saw the people walking over with the cake, and I didn't recognize them at all. They were wearing Batman masks. I just assumed they were other employees who had guessed that I liked Batman (though I was wearing my new Avengers shirt at the time). Then, as the cake and the people with the cake got closer, I recognized them.
It was some very good friends of our family, and I was completely freaking out. You know, these are those friends that practically are part of your family, so it's always good to see them. And I was in no way expecting to see them that day.
I was trying to hold back my happy tears in case somebody was afraid that I was upset, but goodness to gosh, I was in no way upset. I was crazy surprised, and crazy happy. After we all finished eating dinner, watched the employees dance to 80s songs, and ate the Captain America themed birthday cake, we went off to a DC Comics store to hang out for awhile (because the lot of us are complete geeks). There I saw a whole lot of fangirl-mode inducing stuff, and my parents were finally able to buy me a good new pair of shoes. My sneakers have been wearing out, and it's hard to find good shoes my size here in Malaysia. Then, BAM! a fabulous pair of converse-style Batman sneakers that fit me fantastically. 
Thus, my second surprise birthday party, my second cry-worthy birthday celebration, and probably one of my most memorable birthdays ever. Thank you, to both my friends and my family. That was a totally sweet sixteen!

(By the by, I should probably mention I'm going to get a Captain America hoodie as a birthday gift from my friends, which is AWESOME! It's just gonna take awhile to get from America to here, but I don't care. I'm happy).

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